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Papers of Robert C. Ward

Identifier: WRCW

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Robert C. Ward consists of documents dated 1950 to 2019, with the bulk falling from 1970 to 2010. The main subject documented in the collection is water quality monitoring, primarily through research, publication, and teaching files. Because Ward worked on this topic as it emerged and became increasingly important, the documentation here serves as a record of the evolving thought and application. Also present are annual personnel files, documentation of some service activities, and materials on CSU's water history. Limited files document Ward's administrative roles. Dominant material types include publications, presentations, reports, grey literature, and lecture materials, including slides.


  • Creation: 1950-2019
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970-2010


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. All "confidential" markings on correspondence or other materials have been determined to be for administrative purposes, not national security information; therefore, these materials are open for access. However, the collection is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


A professor and administrator at Colorado State University for 35 years, Robert Ward focused his career on water quality monitoring. He conducted theoretical and applied research to develop information about water quality monitoring systems and management, teach the concepts, and influence application and policy.

Born in Swansea, Wales, in 1944, Robert Carl Ward was raised in Mississippi and Tennessee. He earned a B.S. in agricultural engineering from Mississippi State University in 1966 and an M.S. (1968) and Ph.D. (1970) in the same subject from North Carolina State University. After Ward became interested in using computers for complex computations as an undergraduate, his graduate studies enabled him to delve into both computing and systems analysis and explore their application in relation to improving water-related aspects of agricultural systems.

Ward's graduate years coincided with a new emphasis at the federal level to improve the nation's suffering water quality. He soon benefited from a Federal Water Pollution Control Administration grant to study ways to reduce water pollution, specifically as applied to poultry processing and using new computing techniques. With his growing expertise in this area, Ward was recruited and hired in 1970 by CSU's Department of Agricultural Engineering (later named the Department of Agricultural and Chemical Engineering). In approximately 2000, the Agricultural Engineering degree was terminated and the remaining AE faculty, including Ward, moved to Civil Engineering, which eventually became the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.

As a professor, Ward taught several graduate and undergraduate courses on the topic of water quality management, along with graduate and freshmen seminars. He was also the co-director and instructor for Design of Water Quality Monitoring Networks, a one-week summer course held for 25 years. He also co-directed the Colorado HI-TIE Program, a high school partnership in engineering, for ten years. Ward also worked extensively over the years on interdisciplinary educational programs. Additionally, during the 1990s, he chaired the committee that created the environmental engineering undergraduate degree.

Remaining a professor, Ward also served as an administrator. He was the acting head of the Department of Agricultural and Chemical Engineering from 1982 to 1983, the associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Engineering from 1986 to 1990, and the interim vice chancellor for academic affairs for the CSU System during the 1990-91 academic year. From there, he moved into the position of director of the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute (CWRRI) in 1991, along with being director of the CSU Water Center starting in 1998. After Ward retired in 2005, he became both professor emeritus and director emeritus.

As director of the CWRRI, Ward oversaw the research program for the state-based institute. This took him beyond his main research areas and beyond academics to work on outreach with colleagues and water managers statewide, along with keeping track of federal government developments and funding sources.

Ward's research focus was on water quality management and monitoring. Developments at the federal level impacted his career and research, as did advances in thinking about management of sources of pollution and design of the newly necessary water quality monitoring systems. He contributed to the research and discussions on the topic, as well as to the education of future water quality managers and system designers.

Ward also branched into on-site wastewater management as the topic emerged in the 1970s and 1980s. Main, or point, sources of pollution were coming under control in the 1970s with new federal regulations, but non-point, or diffuse, sources were eventually identified as needing some level of monitoring and control. One aspect of this was wastewater treatment on-site, typically where homes had no sewers available nearby, especially in the mountains, because the traditional septic tank and accompanying leach field system met with growing criticism for its potential to pollute groundwater. Ward's involvement changed this, thus reducing cost from using central and probably distant treatment facilities. Ward further studied on-site treatment technologies and taught courses and workshops on the topic.

Ward co-authored two books related to water quality monitoring and published and presented on the topic and related areas extensively. In addition to sabbaticals in Denmark and New Zealand, Ward had numerous consulting activities across the country and beyond over the course of his career. He also developed an interest in history, especially in relation to CSU's water legacy, and is credited with founding the Water Resources Archive.

Ward was registered as a professional engineer in Colorado and was a member of a number of engineering and water resources organizations and frequently served on boards of directors. He served on the Fort Collins Water Board (1995-2003), the Colorado Water Quality Monitoring Council (1998-2005), and the Poudre Heritage Alliance (2001-2016), among others.

Ward received numerous awards throughout his career, including for teaching and for service. A few highlights include, during the 1980s, two Dean's Council Awards from the College of Engineering as well as CSU's Oliver P. Pennock Distinguished Service Award. In 2006, he received the Friend of the South Platte Award, the Warren A. Hall Medal, and the Icko Iben Award.

Ward married Brenda Linden in 1966 and they had children three children: Stephanie, Justin, and Ryan.


37.5 linear feet (25 record cartons)

Language of Materials



A professor and administrator at Colorado State University for 35 years, Robert Ward focused his career on water quality monitoring. He conducted theoretical and applied research to develop information about water quality monitoring systems and management, teach the concepts, and influence application and policy. His collection documents his research and teaching, with limited files documenting his service activities and his administrative role. Material types include personnel files, publications, presentations, lecture materials, grey literature, and slides.


Robert Ward provided a general arrangement and outline of his files. That order was retained, though grouped into series by activity.

The collection consists of 7 series in 25 boxes:

Series 1: Personnel files, 1970-2006

Series 2: Publications and presentations, 1971-2014 and undated

Series 3: Teaching and advising, 1970-2009 and undated

Subseries 3.1: Teaching materials, 1970-2005 and undated

Subseries 3.2: Student papers, 1972-2009

Series 4: Administration, 1966-2008 and undated

Subseries 4.1: CSU, 1970-2002

Subseries 4.2: CWRRI reference materials, 1966-2008 and undated

Series 5: Research, 1950-2010 and undated

Subseries 5.1: On-site wastewater treatment extension and research, 1969-2004 and undated

Subseries 5.2: Water quality monitoring, 1950-2010 and undated

Series 6: Service, 1971-2019 and undated

Series 7: CSU water history, 1952-2017


The Papers of Robert C. Ward was donated to the Water Resources Archive by Dr. Ward in May 2020.

Related Collections

Related Water Resources Archive collections in terms of the subject of water quality include the Papers of Frederic A. Eidsness, Jr. Also related is the Records of the Colorado Water Resources Research Institute.


Processing was completed in March 2021. Loose materials were inserted in acid-free folders, as were materials from binders and hanging files. Binder clips and paperclips were removed. Slides in carousels were sleeved and foldered. Materials removed from the collection include student theses and dissertations, books not containing Ward contributions, journal article reprints, duplicates, and common publications from CSU, the federal government, and Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR). Also removed were lists of students that included grades, peer reviews for journal articles, conference proposal reviews, and travel logistics documents. Where Social Security numbers were present, those pages were photocopied and the originals were removed. One confidential City of Fort Collins memorandum was removed from the Water Board files.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed. Estimated paginationis preceded by an "e."

Guide to the Papers of Robert C. Ward
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Patricia J. Rettig
Copyright 2021
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA